|Publication number||US7654348 B2|
|Application number||US 11/842,868|
|Publication date||Feb 2, 2010|
|Filing date||Aug 21, 2007|
|Priority date||Oct 6, 2006|
|Also published as||EP2094451A2, US8079432, US8322470, US8662215, US20080179115, US20100116566, US20120261200, US20140069731, US20140305718, WO2008097376A2, WO2008097376A3|
|Publication number||11842868, 842868, US 7654348 B2, US 7654348B2, US-B2-7654348, US7654348 B2, US7654348B2|
|Inventors||Timothy R. Ohm, Michael Bassett|
|Original Assignee||Irobot Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (81), Non-Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (43), Classifications (28), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/883,731, filed on Jan. 5, 2007, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60,828,611 filed on Oct. 6, 2006, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.
This invention was made in part with Government support under contract DAAE07-03-9-F001 awarded by the Technical Support Working Group of the Department of Defense. The Government may have certain rights in the invention.
This invention relates to robotics, and more particularly to mobile robots or vehicles capable of climbing by shifting their center of gravity.
Robots are useful in a variety of civilian, military, and law enforcement applications. For instance, some robots may inspect or search buildings with structural damage caused by earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, or inspect buildings or outdoor sites contaminated with radiation, biological agents such as viruses or bacteria, or chemical spills. Some robots carry appropriate sensor systems for inspection or search tasks. Robots designed for military applications may perform operations that are deemed too dangerous for soldiers. For instance, the robot can be used to leverage the effectiveness of a human “pointman.” Law enforcement applications include reconnaissance, surveillance, bomb disposal and security patrols.
Small, man-portable robots are useful for many applications. Often, robots need to climb stairs or other obstacles. Generally, a small robot must span at least three stair corners to climb stairs effectively, and must have a center of gravity in a central disposition to maintain climbing stability. When the size or length of a robot reaches a certain small size relative to the obstacle or stair it must climb, the robot's center of gravity usually has a deleterious effect on climbing ability. What is needed, therefore, is a robot design that can climb obstacles that are large relative to the size of the robot.
Such robots are also employed for applications that require a robot to inspect under and around various objects and surfaces. What is needed, therefore, are robot sensor heads moveable in various degrees of freedom.
Various robot head and neck morphologies are provided to allow positioning for various poses such as a stowed pose, observation poses, and inspection poses. Neck extension and actuator module designs are provided to implement various head and neck morphologies. Robot actuator control network circuitry is also provided.
One preferred embodiment is a robot including a chassis having a central open volume, a steerable drive supporting the chassis, and neck extension movable be coupled to the chassis, and a pan link extension having proximal and distal ends being coupled to the neck extension at the proximal end with a first tilt access actuator. The pan link extension has a one axis actuator along its length. A sensor head is coupled to a distal end of the pan link extension. The sensor head as movable using the axes.
Preferred actuator designs provide and actuator module, the module including the actuator motor, control circuitry for the motor, a slip ring and having multiple concentric conductive traces which matched to corresponding contacts on an electrical contact board rotatable with respect to the slip ring.
Configurations are provided for vehicular robots or other vehicles to provide shifting of their center of gravity for enhanced obstacle navigation. In preferred embodiments, a robot chassis with articulated driven flippers has an articulated neck and articulated sensor head mounted toward the front of the chassis. The articulated neck is pivoted forward to shift the vehicle combined center of gravity (combined CG) forward for various climbing and navigation tasks. Flippers may also be employed with the CG shifting effect of moving flippers added to that of the pivoting head and neck. Various embodiments may have different weight distributions to allow different CG shifting capabilities.
One preferred embodiment includes a chassis supporting a skid steered drive and having a leading end, a trailing end, and a chassis center of gravity (chassis CG) therebetween, a set of driven flippers, an articulated neck and an articulated sensor head the chassis, set of flippers, neck, and articulated sensor head adapted to move and thereby produce a corresponding adjustment in the vehicle center of gravity. Such adjustment may be employed to allow stair climbing, obstacle navigation, crevasse navigation, or other desired operations. The articulated neck may include a pan axis element.
Robots according to various morphologies may be positioned in various poses suitable to accomplish their mission. A preferred control scheme provides preset poses in response to certain operator commands. Preset CG shifting poses and preset observation or inspection poses are provided.
The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.
Various tracked robotic vehicles have been developed that are the subject of, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,431,296, 6,263,989, 6,668,951 and 6,651,885. These patents are instructive on the construction of tracked robotic vehicles having driven flippers, and means of articulation of robotic components, and are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety into this application. Other robotic vehicle details and features combinable with those described herein may be found in a U.S. Provisional application, filed Oct. 6, 2006, and assigned Ser. No. 60/828,606, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
Alternative versions of the robot can use other types of tracks, such as tracks made up of discrete elements. However, debris may be caught between elements and such tracks are generally heavier than flexible belts. Other flexible materials can also be used for continuous belt tracks. Referring back to
As depicted in
Other designs may be employed to produce a robot with such a skid steered drive and driven flippers. For example, some embodiments may employ techniques taught in the various U.S. patents that are incorporated by reference herein.
One embodiment of the robot 100 may be specifically dimensioned to climb common stairs, with step dimensions of up to a 17.8 cm (7-inch) rise and 27.9 cm (11-inch) tread. As the robot tilts or inclines, the vertical projection of the center of gravity (CG) with respect to the ground moves backwards. For stable travel on stairs, the extended wheel base of the main and forward tracks in the fully extended mode span a minimum of two steps (i.e. at least 66.2 cm for 17.8 cm by 27.9 cm stairs) such that the vehicle is supported by at least two stair treads at all times. Note that the depicted robot 100 can climb larger stairs for which it cannot span two steps, but the traverse will not be as smooth as the robot will bob with each step.
To avoid nosing up or down (pitch instability) while climbing stairs, the vertical projections of the center of gravity is located in a stable range which is at least one step span (i.e., 33.1 cm (13 inches) for 17.8 cm by 27.9 cm stairs) in front of the furthest rear main track ground contact 160 and at least one step span behind the front most front track ground contact 180.
Alternative versions of the robot can use shorter track dimensions that do not satisfy the requirement of spanning two steps. Without further modifications, however, the center of gravity can be outside the stable range. Such robots may not be as stable on stairs, although inertial effects add to dynamic stability at increased velocities, smoothing the traverse on stairs. Various methodologies may be used to mitigate this and other climbing and terrain traversing problems. Below we describe different embodiments (having different morphologies) for a basic small tracked vehicle system that may have enhanced capability to climb or traverse.
The tracked vehicle robot may be required to surmount a variety of obstacles that will require the vehicle center of gravity (CG) to fall within a certain range. These obstacles include, for example, stairs, single vertical steps, and slopes. Included herein are tracked-vehicle morphology capable of meeting these “primary” requirements. Because tracked vehicle robots may be subject to both stringent overall weight and stowed size requirements, it is desirable to be able to negotiate these obstacles with the smallest sized vehicle possible such that these constraints can be met as well. To do this reliably, it is also desirable to achieve all of this with the simplest system possible. Likewise, power consumption of the drive train must be considered to meet varied endurance requirements. Further, the system may be required to elevate the drive sensors 304 to a specific height which may play an important factor is being able to shift the CG to be able to negotiate extreme obstacles.
A typical such obstacle is the ability to climb standard stairs with 7-inch risers by 11-inch landings, for climbing higher obstacles. Climbing slopes is sometimes required. These requirements typically need to be met while minimizing weight, and size for portability, maximizing vehicle endurance, and accommodating extra payloads for certain scenarios. Some small tracked vehicle robots require a minimum drive sensor height above the ground to see over obstacles.
Chassis 301 is preferably constructed of strong lightweight materials, and may include a shell around an enclosed volume. A structural volume housing electronics may also support the necessary load paths of the system. In the simplest case where the chassis is modeled as a hollow box, there is adequate strength to also support wheels and running gear on the sides of this box.
Some characteristics for three different embodiments are described below. Note that the values depicted are for one possible morphology and that other morphologies can be derived by reallocating weights from one component to another. For example, in typical examples the flippers will be about 10% of the total robot weight. To provide heavier flippers (say by moving the batteries to the flippers), the battery weight (which is typically around 23% but may vary greatly) would be subtracted out of the chassis and added to the flippers, thus making the flippers contain about 33% of the total robot weight. Further, partial battery capacity may be shifted to the robot head for a heavier head providing, in some designs, an improved CG shifting capability. For example, some designs herein have a head with 15% of the overall robot weight. Designs that provide battery capacity located in the robot sensor head and neck may provide head weight ranging as high as around 17%, 20%, or even 22% or 25%, depending on CG shifting requirements and design constraints. Likewise, a lighter head can be employed if certain components like cameras or transmission gear are removed.
One embodiment of the robot depicted in
Weight Distribution for Design 1.
Percentage of overall wt:
6 lbs (rating)
The weights and ratios provided may vary slightly and still provide the desired capabilities. Such embodiment also has physical parameters as follows. Track wheel diameter of about 5 inches; chassis length about 17 inches; flipper length about 9.5 inches; and neck length about 17 inches. Such design provides ability to scale an obstacle in the forward direction having an 11.4 inch height. While these designs have been provided, size and weight ratios may change slightly and still provided the desired climbing and maneuvering enhancements. The three designs herein have been configured to crest standard stair and obstacles in a manner such as depicted in
Another embodiment of the robot depicted in
Weight Distribution for Design 2
Percentage of overall wt:
6 lbs (rating)
Table 2: Weight Distribution for Design 2
This design has similar size parameters to the first listed design, Design 1. Because it is not desired to add “dead weight” or useless weight, the additional neck weight is preferably a result of attaching payloads to the neck or housing payloads inside the neck, as discussed above. This may be desired, for example, to provide camera or RF surveillance equipment, or other sensors, and recording transmission electronics that are spaced above the ground for optimum propagation characteristics. This configuration allows for CG shifting to enable addressing obstacles of about 15.1 inches in one direction, and 11.6 inches in both directions.
Weight Distribution for Design 3.
Percentage of overall wt:
10 each set
6 lbs (rating)
The preferred implementation of design 3 also has the following physical parameters: wheel diameter, 5 inches; chassis length, 15 inches; flipper length, 9.5 inches; and neck length, 15 inches. Such parameters provide ability to scale a forward obstacle of 13.8 inches height when using the CG shifting techniques described herein.
While several design variations with different parameters are described, variations in size are accommodated for robots with different intended purposes. The designs included are intended to provide small robots, that are man-portable yet capable of climbing stairs. Larger robots, or other vehicles, may have little trouble climbing stairs, but may use the CG shifting techniques described, herein to enable crossing crevasses, larger obstacles, or other purposes.
Assuming the chassis density is somewhat uniform (resulting in its CG being at its geometric center), and the flippers would shift the CG slightly off to the end to which they are mounted, this implies that the flippers typically not be shorter than about 50% of the chassis length. Therefore having the flippers be at least 50% of the chassis length is a good baseline unless the flippers are adapted to have more weight (in which case they could be slightly shorter).
It is also important for the flippers to spin 360 degrees continuously in either direction. This not only is necessary to recover from being inverted, but it also considerably adds to the vehicle mobility over very level and unstable terrain (such as rocks or tall grass). With such movement, the flippers may also act as arms to help pull the vehicle over such terrains.
Depending on what vehicle morphology is employed and where the average CG location is located, the vehicle may be able to surmount larger obstacles backwards than it can forwards. This happens when the vehicle, CG is shifted aft and thus the lightweight flippers can be used to elevate the CG over the obstacle. By using the flippers to achieve “prairie-dog” pose (driving on the flipper tracks only), large obstacles can be approached backwards as depicted in
As described above, due to the limitations of the design in
The alternative to having a fixed CG is having some type of “CG shifting” capability such as that illustrated in
The depicted robot 800 in
The depicted CG locations depend, of course, on the orientation of the vehicle. Climbing orientations with the chassis oriented at a pitch will of course have different CG locations, but the general CG shifting effect is exemplified in this drawing. CG locations also depend on flipper location and the relative weight of the flippers 802 to the rest of robot 800.
In the depicted embodiment, though not visible in this side representation, neck 805 is preferably adapted to move centrally between flippers 802 such that the flippers do not interfere with neck movement. Other positions may be used.
Note that the neck could be reversed from what is depicted above such that it pivots from the rear of the vehicle. This would shift the centroid of the CG range aft, which can be advantageous if more weight is packaged in the flippers.
While CG shifting directed along the front/rear axis is depicted, CG shifting as described herein may of course be accomplished in other directions, such as sideways, or downward. For example, a robot navigating a slope with a sideways slant may benefit from sideways or diagonal CG shifting. Such shifting may be accomplished using various head/neck joint morphologies described herein.
Furthermore, it is possible to “combine” the chassis and the neck as a single entity, and have dual flippers on one end of the vehicle. In this case, the vehicle always rides on one or both sets of lightweight flippers, and the heavy neck can be pivoted about the front axle to supply the weight shifting ability. This concept requires longer flippers to effectively climb stairs, but has the benefit of having most of its weight concentrated in the neck to achieve large CG shifts. The head (which would be at the end of the neck) could be elevated by standing on the flipper tips to achieve the required height. This example is described in a copending Patent Application No. 60/828,606, filed Oct. 6, 2006, and entitled “Robotic Vehicle.”
After reaching the position shown in
As shown, there are two distinct crevice dimensions, “A” and “B,” dictated by the location of the vehicle's CG relative to both of its outermost axles. Since any vehicle crossing a crevice must pass through both of these extremes, the maximum crevice that a vehicle can cross is always the smaller of “A” or “B.” Note that for a typical vehicle with a fixed CG location, the sum of A and B is always the total length of the track span. Therefore, the maximum crevice that a fixed-CG vehicle can cross can be no larger than half of the track span, and the CG must reside in the middle of the track footprint to do so. However, if the vehicle is capable of shifting its CG fore and aft, it is possible to cross much larger crevices. In this case, the maximum crevice is still the smaller of A or B, but the sum and A and B is now equal to:
A+B=Track Span+CG Shift
Since the maximum crevice would be when A=B, this gives:
Maximum Crevice=(Track Span+CG Shift)/2
Therefore, the crevice size can be increased by half of whatever CG shifting ability can be achieved, but the vehicle's “average” CG should still be in the middle of the track span or this gain is lost.
The depicted robot 1200 in
The depicted robot 1600 has an articulated neck 1605, which may orient head 1603 in various positions.
Specifically, the depicted robot also includes a shoulder axis or actuated joint 2208, a neck 2210, a first tilt axis or actuated joint 2212, a pan axis or actuated joint 2214, and a second tilt axis or actuated joint 2216. Each depicted axis allows for pivotal or panning movement about the central axis arrows depicted for illustration only. The depicted axes are actuated joints moveable by robotic actuators coupled thereto. A preferred joint or axis design includes an actuator module with a motor, a motor driver, and digital logic for motor control. Axes employed herein may have variations, of size, actuator power, and other parameters based on design considerations. For example, shoulder actuated joint or axis 2208 may be more powerful than the other depicted axes in some designs because of neck/head weight. Appropriate gears may also couple the actuators to the attached moveable joints. One preferred actuator design scheme is further described below, but any suitable actuators may be used.
Shoulder axis 2208 is mounted toward one end of the robot 2200 and is used to elevate the neck 2210. Preferably, actuated joint 2208 has a movement range limited only by the chassis of robot 2200. The movement range thereby extends below parallel toward both ends of robot 2200 in a preferred design. Preferred actuator circuitry is further described below. Toward the distal end of neck 2210, is first tilt axis 2212. Tilt axis 2212 is, in this embodiment, parallel to shoulder axis 2208. Connected to one side of tilt axis 2212 is pan axis 2214, which is used for panning the head. Connected along the top of pan axis 2214 is the second tilt axis 2216. The depicted sensor head 2206 is fixed to the top of tilt axis 2216. Preferably, neck 2210 is constructed to provide a large range of movement at each of the depicted axes.
Actuated pan link 4308 provides further degrees of freedom head movement over other embodiments described herein with less than four degrees of freedom. The center of gravity shifting (CG shifting) techniques described herein may also be enhanced with use of pan link 4308. Specifically, the pan link may be pivoted or extended, backward to achieve maximum rearward CG shifting described herein for tasks such as the beginning phases of an obstacle climb. Similarly, actuated pan link 4308 may be pivoted forward and the head tilted down to achieve maximum forward-down CG, shifting for tasks such as stair ascending and completing a large obstacle ascension, for example.
The neck connector piece 3512 is preferably a metal piece with interior threads adapted to screw onto the outer threads of base 3502. In some embodiments, connection may be made with a quarter turn engagement. That is, the neck or payload may be attached with a twist to engage the threads on the base 3502 without a friction or interference fit. Such a connection is secured with the use of a latch or other securing piece. Electrical contact pads 3504 are expressed on a circuit board which is fitted into base 3502. Contacts 3504 match to corresponding electrical contacts 3522 (
A latch 3506 is used to latch the depicted connector arrangement in a closed position. Latch 3506 is shown with plunger 3508 spring loaded therein. Plunger 3508 may be screwed into latch 3506 to adjust the latch closing force. In preferred scenario the closing forces is adjusted similarly to a vice grips. That is plunger 3508 is screwed into latch 3506 and the closing force tested until the latch can no longer be closed. Then plunger 3508 is screwed out slightly to allow the latch to close at its maximum closing force position. Such position provides, in preferred embodiments, a zero-backlash connection. Latch 3506 is rotatably mounted to a latch base 3516 which in one embodiment is screw-mounted to the chassis. In another embodiment the latch base may be mounted to neck connector piece 3512.
The depicted latch in a closed position provides a zero backlash connection in that, once latched, the depicted neck connector has no freedom of movement. The assembly may be referred to as a quick-connect zero backlash connector. Other suitable connector designs may be employed to provide a quick connect zero backlash capability. The plunger must be pulled out of receiving slot 3526 in order to disconnect the connector. The unlatching movement is accomplished by pushing upward on the head end of plunger 3508, thereby rotating latch base 3516 upward about screw 3528, while at the same time rotating the tip of plunger 3508 downward along the surface of neck connector piece 3512 until contact is cleared. Assembly and disassembly are preferably accomplished with a single quarter turn movement and a latching or unlatching movement.
While the depicted connector is shown holding the robot neck assembly 3304 onto the robot chassis however such a connector may be used as a payload connector to quick connect a variety of payloads to a robot chassis, or quick connect other robot pieces together while providing a sealed housing and electrical connection as well as a zero backlash mechanical connection. Various payloads may be connected. For example a cargo platform, or a manipulator arm may be connected. Various sensing payloads or weapons payloads may also be connected.
In this embodiment head 28002 includes a single board computer (SBC) 28100, and in a preferred embodiment the SBC 28100 is a Freescale MPC5200. Further, in one preferred embodiment the SBC is the controller for the entire robot. SBC 28100 is connected to a global positioning system (GPS) module 28102 by a serial bus, and in a preferred embodiment the GPS 28102 is a uBlox Super Sense GPS module. The GPS module is also connected to a GPS antenna 28108. The SBC 28100 also uses a PCI bus to connect to a wireless Ethernet transceiver 28104 and a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) 28200. In a preferred embodiment, the FPGA 28200 is a Xilinx XC3S1000. SBC 28100 is electronically connected to a first bus buffer 28105, which in a preferred embodiment is a Linear Technology LTC4304, which is connected to a PMBus 28604. A microcontroller power module 28106, which receives power from VSTBY power 28107, is also connected to PMBus 28604 by a second bus buffer 28108.
Referring now to the centrally depicted FPGA in
The head 28000 also includes an electro-optic infrared (EOIR) module 28900. EOIR 28900 includes a near infrared (NIR) camera 28902 (in a preferred embodiment, Sony 980), a long wave infrared (LWIR) camera and a laser range finder 28906. The EOIR cameras 28902 and 28904 are connected to a pair of video decoders 28912 and 28914 (in a preferred embodiment, Analog Devices ADV7180). Laser range finder 28906 is connected to a digital video input 28916. The video decoders 28912 and 28914, the digital video input 28916, as well as a drive camera 28908 are connected to FPGA 28200 by a CCIR-656 video communications bus and a serial bus. Video decoder 28914 is also connected to a differential NSTC receiver 28918.
The depicted head 28000 also includes an Ethernet switch 28300 (in a preferred embodiment, Marvell 88E6063) which connects the SBC 28100 to a head payload connector 28700, a head connector 28600 providing connectivity to the robot base, and a local area network (LAN) radio 28800. The Ethernet switch 28300 connections are made using a collection of four-conductor Ethernet busses 28606. The LAN radio is connected to a LAN radio antenna 28806, a switch 28802, and a radio key 28804, which may be employed to enable certain functions on secure radios such as JTRS radios. The head 2800 includes a head latch control 28102, which may be operable to enable opening of the head housing or disconnection from the neck.
Head connector 28600 connections for FARnet 28208, PMBus 28604, and Ethernet bus 28606. Head connector 28600 also includes a differential NSTC signal conductor 28610 and a two-conductor power conductor 28608. Head payload connector 28700 includes connections for FARnet 28208, PMBus 28604, Ethernet bus 28606, and power conductor 28608. In this embodiment, the power provided on conductors 28608 is converted by the four depicted DC-DC converters, shown as 28004 through 28010. VSTBY is standby voltage. The second depicted 3.3V out converter supplies the digital logic such as the SBC 28100 (3.3V external) and audio codec 28404. The third depicted converter supplies 5V output to as needed to circuits such as the radio 28800 and sensors and cameras 28902, 28904, 28906, and 28908. The fourth depicted converter 28010 supplies various voltages required to operate FPQA 28200 (3.3V).
An FPGA 2950 is provided in module 2902 to perform various digital logic and data routing functions such as multiplexing the video or sensor signals to appropriate destinations, as well as, in this embodiment, interfacing to the actuator data communications bus known as FARnet. In a preferred embodiment, FPGA 2950 is a XC3S500. FPGA 2950 is connected to oscillator 2924, an EEPROM 2928, and RS485 transceivers 2926 and 2930. Transceivers 2926 and 2930 are in communication with FARnet bus 2960. The depicted FARnet busses are actuator control busses that, in one embodiment, are RS-485 serial busses. Their interconnection herein forms a noded network of actuators. The FARnet bus scheme preferably operates as a noded scheme rather than detecting collisions on a common bus, but a common bus scheme may be used. In this embodiment, each node receives commands, implements the commands addressed to itself, and forwards the other commands along the FARnet network.
Module 2902 also includes components used for motion control, such as a pair of h-bridge drivers 2920 and 2922. Other motion control components included in the first tilt module 2902 include an h-bridge 2916, a current sense module 2918, an ADC 2932, a first tilt encoder 2934, and an encoder magnet 2936. The depicted encoders at each actuator herein are preferably absolute position encoders rather than (or in conjunction with) differential encoders. Such encoders allow absolute position controlling of the actuated joints. This scheme is advantageous especially when combined with the slip clutches described herein which may prevent reliance on differential encoder tracking in some situations. Other motion control components include a thermistor 2906, a brushless motor 2908, and a collection of hall sensors 2910.
Pan module 3002 also includes components used for motion control, such as a pair of half bridge drivers 3016 and 3018. Other motion control components included in the pan module 3002 include an h-bridge 3022, a current sense module 3024, an ADC 3020, a pan encoder 3034, and an encoder magnet 3032. Other motion control components include a thermistor 3026, a brushless motor 3028, and a collection of hall sensors 3030.
Depicted toward the center of the block diagram in
Lower neck assembly module 3102 also includes components used for motion control, such as four half bridge drivers 3116 through 3122. In a preferred embodiment, h-bridge drivers 3116 through 3122 are Intersil HIP2101. Other motion control components included in the module 3102 include a pair of h-bridges 3126 and 3128, a pair of current sense modules 3130 and 3132, an ADC 3124, a first tilt encoder 3168, a first tilt encoder magnet 3116, a clavical encoder 3172, and a clavical encoder magnet 3170. Other motion control components include a pair of thermistors 3134 and 3136, a pair of brushless motors 3138 and 3140, and a collection of hall sensors 3142 and 3144. Electrical connection from assembly 3102 to the robot base 3190 is made through a slip ring 3174 and color connector 3180. Slip ring 3174 allows connectivity despite actuator movement of the shoulder joint. The depicted collar connectors 3180 and 3192 represent the connectors that join the neck to the chassis (
Centrally located in
Base 3202 also includes components used for motion control, such as an ADC 3208, a flipper absolute encoder 3270, a flipper motor driver 3272, a drivel motor driver and, battery charger 3274, and a drive2 motor driver and battery charger 3276. Other motion control components include a set of three thermistors 3286, 3287, and 3288, a pair of BLDC motors 3292 and 3293, a flipper brushless motor 3284, a set of three incremental encoders 3280, 3281, and 3282, a brake 3291, and a collection of hall sensors 3289 and 3290.
Base 3202 also includes other various components used for power and communications, such as fiber connector 3212 which is optically connected to fiber optic transceiver 3214 for connection of remote control tethers. Transceiver 3214 converts the fiber optic based communications to four-conductor electrical communications, and the Ethernet bus that carries this converted communications is electrically connected to an Ethernet switch 3210. Ethernet switch 3210 is connected to EEPROM 3216. Ethernet switch 3210 is in electrical communication with a maintenance port connector 3260, a collar connector 3250 via a first isolation transformer 3220, and a payload connector A (3252) via a second isolation transformer 3220. A collection of payload power switches 3226 electrically connects to collar connector 3250 via power bus 3226, payload connector 3252 via a 2-conductor power bus 3256, and asset of power switches and ideal diodes 3242. Payload power switches 3226 is also electrically connected to a power microcontroller 3238, which is also connected to the power switches and ideal diodes 3242. The base 3202 also includes a collection of power regulators and local controls 3230 for controlling drive motors and other functions in base 3202, such as flipper movement, for example. Payload connector 3252 also includes electrical conductors for PM Bus 3254.
Visible in the left-central area of
The depicted pose in
To achieve the depicted pose, pursuant to independent commands propagated along the network to the independent motor modules, flippers 3308 orient themselves in an upright 90° position. Referring again to the joints described in
The depicted pose in
The depicted pose in
The depicted pose in
The depicted pose in
The depicted pose in
The depicted pose in
The depicted pose in
Preferably, actuator position commands are transmitted over a nodded actuator network such as the FARnet network described herein. Other suitable control bus schemes may be used. In step 4303 the various actuators move to their preset positions. Movement may be simultaneous or may be in a pre-designated order necessary to achieve a particular desired movement sequence. For example, for the center of gravity shifting (CG-shifting) positions described herein, certain head and neck movements may be needed in a particular position to achieve desired CG-shifting movements appropriate for particular climbing sequences.
Other robotic vehicle details and features combinable with those described herein may be found in a U.S. Provisional application filed concurrently herewith, entitled “Robotic Vehicle With Dynamic Range Actuators” and assigned Ser. No. 60/878,877, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.
A number of embodiments of the invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, various construction materials may be used. Further, other techniques besides the depicted neck and head designs may be employed to do center of gravity shifting. Accordingly, other variations are within the scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||180/9.32, 280/5.32, 180/9.3, 180/8.2, 180/8.3, 901/1, 180/907, 180/8.5, 901/47, 280/5.28, 280/5.26, 180/8.4|
|International Classification||B62B5/02, B62D55/00|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S180/907, B62D57/024, B62D55/02, B62D55/065, Y10S901/01, B25J5/005, B62D55/075, B62D37/04|
|European Classification||B62D55/065, B62D55/02, B62D57/024, B62D55/075, B25J5/00T, B62D37/04|
|Apr 3, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: IROBOT CORPORATION, MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:OHM, TIMOTHY R.;BASSETT, MICHAEL;REEL/FRAME:020750/0056;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080129 TO 20080303
Owner name: IROBOT CORPORATION,MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:OHM, TIMOTHY R.;BASSETT, MICHAEL;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080129 TO 20080303;REEL/FRAME:020750/0056
|Aug 2, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4